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Paper Bags vs Plastic Bags

17 May 2013

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If you use plastic bags in your business, you may be contemplating making the switch to paper. Every time you go to the grocery store, you get asked, "Paper or plastic?" and after hearing and reading about the “impact” of plastic bags on the environment you might be leaning toward paper.

It isn't. Paper bags, although they decompose readily, also have a negative impact on the environment. To make paper bags, trees must be cut and used, adding to the possibility of deforestation issues. Trees absorb greenhouse gases and so fewer trees mean that there can be an increase in greenhouse gases. In fact, more of these gases are created during the paper bag manufacturing process.

According to the 1989 Plastic Recycling Directory, Society of Plastics Industry, it takes about four times LESS energy to make plastic bags. It also takes about 90% LESS energy to recycle plastic bags than paper. Unfortunately, most bags, regardless of if they are paper or plastic, simply are not being recycled.

In another paper, Comparison of the Effects on the Environment of Polyethylene and Paper Carrier Bags, it was reported that paper bags can generate 70 times more air pollutants and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags.

Also, degradability is not an issue with plastic bags or paper bags because very little materials of any kind decompose in a landfill because there is a lack of air and light.
If your business uses plastic bags, bring on paper if you wish, but don’t make the switch from plastic bags entirely – it’s bad for the environment.

For more information on plastic bags or for a quote, contact Atlantic Poly.



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We have a dedicated quote fax number: 781-769-5722. We have the largest inventory of stock poly bags in the northeast. Stock orders can be shipped within 24 hours. Atlantic Poly specializes in hard to find sizes and special applications. Ask about our Drop-Ship and Just-in-Time delivery programs. Imprinting up to six colors and 4 color process printing available. Ask about package design assistance for special projects.

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